9.19.2011

The Blind Leading


I was intrigued by a recent piece in Wired Magazine (no link yet) about Claudia Folska, a Ph.D student who has been blind since the age of 5 and was encouraged by her dissertation advisor at University of Colorado to study how blind people navigate cities. It turns out that her mapping of how the blind make their way around a city has helped her to "see" some remarkable insights: where people feel safe, what represents barriers, and what areas are avoided altogether.

By tapping into a group of people who are lacking in one area - the ability to see - and have as a result become more aware in other areas, Folska hopes her research will help make cities safer and navigable for all pedestrians. Yet another reminder that in one sense there really aren't any such things as "disabilities" as there are the "differently abled," who with a little ingenuity can use those different abilities for great common good.

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